III. Guidelines For Review of Faculty Members For Extension, Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion
Vassar College seeks to recruit a faculty of the highest quality. It looks for certain measures of competence, including achievement and potential in the following areas: teaching, scholarly work or artistic activities, and service to the college. It seeks excellence in its faculty in both teaching and scholarship or creative activity.
With respect to teaching, departmental recommendations will consider the individual’s command of and continuing engagement in the subject, contribution to the intellectual vitality of the department, expository ability, understanding and empathy for students, ability to excite intellectual curiosity, and willingness to participate in the guidance and advising of students. In arriving at their final recommendations, departments take into account student course evaluations.
With respect to scholarship and artistic achievement, primary emphasis is placed on the quality of the work, which should demonstrate incisiveness of mind, felicity of expression, and control of materials. A candidate’s record should also show continuing engagement in scholarly or artistic projects resulting in timely publication or presentation.
In order to ensure a heterogeneous faculty, it is important to recognize that these criteria cannot be achieved in precisely the same fashion by all candidates. Individual cases will be assessed on the basis of the particular contributions of a candidate to the department and the college.
The chair of the department will meet with all tenure-track faculty members at the time of their first salary recommendation to make sure that they have familiarized themselves with the procedures of review and the criteria employed in each of the reviews, as stated in the Governance and the Faculty Handbook and interpreted by the department. In addition, FASC will meet near the end of the spring semester with these faculty and their chairs to describe and clarify procedures and criteria.
(Approved by the faculty May 18, 1994)
The general criteria relevant to the various levels of academic appointment and the progression from one level to the next are as follows:
- A. Extension of Instructor and first-term Assistant Professor Contracts
- B. Reappointment to a second term as Assistant Professor
- C. Promotion to indeterminate tenure at the Associate Professor Rank
- D. Promotion to full professor
- E. Post-tenure review
A. Extension of Instructor and first-term Assistant Professor Contracts
Effective teaching, as indicated by departmental evaluation, course evaluations, and teaching portfolios, is the primary consideration. Scholarly promise, as indicated by the candidate’s activities reports and curriculum vitae, and participation in the department are additional important considerations.
B. Reappointment to a second term as Assistant Professor
Substantial evidence of a high quality of teaching is of primary importance. Evidence of a degree of artistic or scholarly development sufficient to warrant the expectation of significant accomplishment by the time of tenure review is also necessary. Evidence may include published and unpublished materials, work in progress, papers read at professional meetings, participation in seminars and symposia, and contributions to the creative and performing arts from the 3 1/2 years prior to the submission of materials for reappointment. Contribution to departmental activities in particular and to college life in general will also be important factors.
(Amended by the faculty September 18, 2013)
C. Promotion to indeterminate tenure at the Associate Professor Rank
Required are distinction in teaching together with scholarly or artistic achievement of high quality as judged by peers both inside and outside the college, or distinction in scholarly or artistic achievement together with teaching of high quality. In the consideration of scholarly or artistic activity, the primary works to be examined are those published, produced or performed while at Vassar or elsewhere in the 6 1⁄2 years prior to submission of materials for review. Other evidence, limited to the same time period, may include unpublished materials, works in progress, papers read at professional meetings, participation in seminars and symposia, and contributions to the creative and performing arts. Additional factors in the final recommendation of the department and FASC include intellectual growth and academic leadership, which may be evidenced by participation in professional activities outside the college, service on committees within the college, or contributions to educational innovation or policy making at both the departmental and college levels.
(Amended by the faculty March 27, 2013)
D. Promotion to full professor
The review will consider all professional activity, placing particular emphasis on work begun or completed since the granting of tenure. Scholarship or artistic activity published or substantially produced before the tenure review and evaluated as part of the tenure portfolio is not resubmitted in the portfolio for promotion to full professor. Continued demonstration of significant scholarship or artistic activity and teaching of high quality are required. It is necessary that marked distinction be achieved in scholarship or teaching, preferably in both. An additional important consideration is academic leadership, as defined in paragraph C above.
(Amended by the Faculty, April 10, 1996)
E. Post-tenure review
Tenured faculty members are expected to engage in teaching, scholarship and service in the Vassar community. In making merit determinations the Faculty Appointment and Salary Committee shall consider all three areas of performance, which, taken together, give evidence of different levels of performance by tenured members of the faculty. It is understood, however, that patterns of focus in these areas may vary responsibly at different points in a faculty member’s career. Under these circumstances, the committee will consider in its evaluation the weighting of the three areas and of contributions within each area as presented in the candidate's self-analysis in the Personal Statement.
(Amended by the faculty April 20, 2005)